Sea World Foundation saves entangled dolphin at Tin Can Bay

Local environment, Local wildlife

Dolphin rescued

The Sea World Foundation team conducted an intricate rescue operation to successfully remove a crab pot line entanglement from Skye, a young Australian Humpback Dolphin at Tin Can Bay on Sunday 28 January.

Skye is a regular animal to the Barnacles Dolphin Centre wild dolphin feeding program and their team had spotted the two-year old male, who is still dependant on mum Ella, with the line entangled through his mouth and trailing down his body during their session on Friday 26 January.

Sea World Head of Marine Sciences, Wayne Phillips said the rescue operation was a coordinated effort with the Barnacles Dolphin Centre team and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS) rangers.

“Our experienced marine mammal team and vet travelled to Tin Can Bay to meet with the Barnacles Dolphin Centre and QPWS teams to conduct the in-water operation to successfully remove the entanglement.” he said.

“It was incredibly rewarding to remove all of the entanglement and watch Skye swim off strongly with mum, Ella following the operation, with both returning minutes later to recommence the wild dolphin feeding program.

“The entanglement was impeding Skye from suckling from Ella so it was important we intervened to remove the rope and give him the best chance of survival. It was incredibly pleasing to see Skye suckling from Ella upon their return to the program.

“We have a great relationship with the Barnacles Dolphin Centre team and are proud to be in the position to provide our expertise to assist them and the animals who reside in the area, especially given the Australian Humpback Dolphin is listed as vulnerable. 

“While we were in a fortunate position to intervene and assist Skye on this occasion, sadly there are many marine animals who succumb to these types of injuries and sadly we are seeing an increase of animals coming into our care with injuries due to human impacts so are encouraging everyone who utilises the marine environment to do so in a responsible manner.”

QPWS Principal Ranger Daniel Clifton thanked the Sea World Foundation and Barnacles team for jumping into action to detangle the dolphin.

“The crew did a great job with this lifesaving operation, as entanglement is one of the leading causes of marine animal death here in Queensland,” Ranger Clifton said.

“Crab pots in particular pose a threat to marine animals as they can easily get tangled around their fins and tails. Skye is very lucky to have been freed before his condition could deteriorate, well done to all involved.

Barnacles Dolphin Centre team appreciated the responsiveness and efforts of both the Sea World Foundation and QPWS to free Skye.  Putting together such a large rescue team on a long weekend takes a huge effort.  The team at Barnacles was in awe of the composure and professionalism of the Wildlife experts. 

Skye has returned with Ella on a daily basis since she was rescued and can be seen happily playing with the other young dolphins.

Pictured: Mum Ella with her calf Sky